Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Edward Ling is in America!

My political secretary Edward Ling together with a former intern are currently in America attending a Legislative Fellowship Program (LFP) by the American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL). I am proud of Edward and I'm delighted to know that the young people in our team are being recognised as potential leaders of this country. You can follow Edward's blog here.

Debunking the myths of Taman Subang Ria

This is my response to the former assemblyman’s article “It’s an urban park” published in The Star on 25 March 2010:

An urban park?
The former assemblyman continues to mislead the residents of Subang Jaya with the claim that the park was alienated as an “urban park”. Where did that term come from? The land title for the park which is currently held by Sime UEP Properties Bhd only states that the land is for recreational purpose [Tanah ini hendaklah digunakan semata-mata untuk taman rekreasi dan bangunan yang berkaitan dengannya]. According to Manual Garis Panduan Dan Piawaian Perancangan Negeri Selangor, recreational could mean a hall, food stalls, driving range, resort, water park and etc. That's the reason why Restaurant Crocodile Farm has been allowed to operate on the park all these years. It is not expressly stated anywhere on the title that it is an urban park unless the former assemblyman has access to other unknown documents which state otherwise.

Public hearings a waste of public funds?

The former assemblyman also claims that he has fervently rejected development on the park previously, up to four times. And then he surprisingly questions the need of an upcoming public hearing which MPSJ will be organizing.

A public hearing is a key element of Local Agenda 21, irrespective of history and personalities involved. Any proposed development must be subjected to a public hearing if there are objections raised by affected parties, and this is a principle of the new administration which I have strived to ensure that MPSJ upholds.

As to the upcoming public hearing on the proposal by Sime for subdivision and conversion of usage of the land, this proposal is different than the one that was presented in 2007. The public hearing in 2007 has only resulted in the developer withdrawing their application to develop the park. It did not resolve the issue at hand. As such, I find it completely hypocritical of the former assemblyman’s statement implying that it was perfectly alright for MPSJ to have conducted a public hearing in 2007 but not in 2010.

Why wasn’t the history revealed to the residents all these years?
The former assemblyman is very quick to dismiss responsibility of the previous administration over this long-standing quandary and one which the present administration has inherited.

The recent declassification by the current Menteri Besar disclosing details of the minutes of an EXCO meeting held in 1987 has exposed the dealings of the previous state government and the rationale employed then in alienating the park.

Taman Subang Ria existed prior to the alienation in 1987. I know this for a fact because I frequented the park as a young child in the early 80’s. Somehow in 1987, the then state government decided it wise to sell this park and at that point, Taman Subang Ria turned from a public park to a private park. Sime obtained a 99-year lease, and it will only expire in the year 2087.

Taman Subang Ria was part of the open space of the Subang Jaya township and corresponding municipality prior to 1987. Any calculation of available open space for Subang Jaya in 1987 would rightfully have included all available open space, and that includes Taman Subang Ria. The decision to alienate this public park to any developer at any point of time would be a most absurd decision, but sadly it has already taken place some 23 years ago.

“Over my dead body?”
The former assemblyman is somewhat fondly remembered for certain oft-quoted phrases, one of which takes the form of a public pledge that Taman Subang Ria can only be developed over his dead body. Some people may find the pledge heroic, maybe even self-sacrificial. I find it amusing.


Over the years, we have seen for ourselves how the condition of the park has deteriorated, even succumbing at one point to being a haunt for criminals. The lack of any decent upkeep and upgrade of facilities in the park over the years is very ironic in the context of the public pledge of the former assemblyman, almost validating the horrid statement that even if anything is to be done to better the park it can only happen over his dead body.


Such a public pledge has not helped the people one bit in the efforts to reclaim the park. In fact, the former assemblyman himself has confessed to having to reject development proposals four times in his more than a decade tenure as the assemblyman. I wonder why his public pledge did not manage to put a stop to further development proposals. Absolutely no progress was recorded in reclaiming the park for the people in his three-terms as an assemblyman. Not a single inch of land was gained; in fact more of the so-called “urban park” land was utilized during that time for the use of a car park by an adjacent private hospital.


State government should right the wrong?

And finally, the former assemblyman has proposed for Sime to surrender the land back to the state government without any indication of a viable mechanism and logical justification for land owner to commit to such an action. Why is this proposal only being floated now? Why wasn’t this pursued in his thirteen years as an assemblyman?


How to right 2 wrongs?

Let’s just wildly assume, hypothetically, that the current state government is to pursue the above course of action. In the recently declassified information, we have learned that Sime paid for the land in kind via an “exchange deal” or "timbal balik-kontra", providing the then state government with 10 units of houses situated in SS19, Subang Jaya. If Sime were to surrender the land today, the state government should fairly return the 10 units of houses back as well.


But guess what? Those very same 10 houses have in turn been used in another trade-off deal in May 2004, this time with another developer, Syarikat Gapurna Builders Sdn Bhd. This land-swap deal was revealed in the Selangor State Assembly last July 2009, and I duly published it on my blog immediately thereafter. This latest land-swap deal happened during the term of the former assemblyman. Knowing full well the importance of those 10 houses in SS19, having been traded off previously for Taman Subang Ria, how could this former assemblyman allow such a deal to take place yet again? How could he even contemplate repeating any of his public pledges today and issue public statements proclaiming his ‘undying’ passion for the park?


We need a new and fresh pragmatic approach

I am committed to ensure that current park users will be able to continue using the park for recreational purpose yet at the same time, finding a permanent solution for the land title to come back into the state government’s hand. I will host a public dialogue in the coming weeks to consult the residents on how this can be done amicably and practically. May this letter of mine serve to set the record straight and effectively re-align our efforts in reclaiming the park for the people.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Town Hall for residents of USJ 9 and USJ 11

There will be a special appearance by Member of Parliament, Tony Pua who will briefly address the water issue in Selangor. Councillor Rajiv Rishyakaran will also be there to meet you on local issues in USJ 9 and USJ 11. We target to start at 9pm sharp. See you there!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Taman Subang Ria

Status update : Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid will be coming to Subang Jaya for a dialogue with residents in April on Taman Subang Ria. I am now finalising the logistics, booking of a venue, printing of banners and etc. Look out for more information on my blog soon.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

MB releases classified information on Taman Subang Ria

PRESS STATEMENT

MARCH 17, 2010

MENTERI BESAR RELEASES CLASSIFIED INFORMATION ON
SUBANG RIA PARK


The State Executive Councillor (EXCO) meeting today agreed to declassify the minutes relating to the alienation of land in Subang Jaya, now known as Subang Ria Recreational Park.

The Selangor Menteri Besar had exercised his powers under Section 2C of the Official Secrets Act 1972 to release the minutes of an EXCO meeting held in 1987 so that the public is aware of the decisions made by the previous government on the matter.

The minutes revealed that United Estate Project Berhad (UEP), now known as Sime Darby UEP, applied for 72.64 acres of land in Petaling (now Subang Jaya) in 1986 for recreational purposes. The premium price for the land was tagged at RM4.95 million.

However, UEP had asked for a discount of the premium and the then Petaling District Land Office (Pentadbir Tanah Daerah Petaling) advised the State Government to consider the company’s request as UEP had already spent RM10 million to build recreational infrastructure on the land and that the area would be for recreational purposes. It was further stated that a valuer’s report submitted then stated that the land is only worth RM1.575 million and if this value is used, the premium owed would be much less.

It was then proposed that 10 housing units (nine semi-detached houses and one bungalow) said to be worth a total of RM2.7 million, would be purchased from UEP as an exchange for UEP’s land premium. This exchange concept (“konsep timbalbalik”) meant essentially that UEP would make its land premium payment in kind instead of in cash.

The houses would be surrendered to the Selangor State Government, and gazetted as residences for the Petaling District Assistant Officers (Penolong-penolong Pegawai Daerah Petaling) and the Petaling District Council Secretary (Setiausaha Majlis Daerah Petaling). All 10 houses are located in SS19, Subang Jaya. This proposal was approved by the then State EXCO.

It is hoped that this declassification clarifies the manner in which Sime Darby UEP obtained its land titles for the land at Subang Ria Recreational Park. The past Selangor State Government approved the alienation of land based on consideration in kind which essentially means that Sime Darby UEP is the valid title owner of the land as approved by the then State Exco.

Although the current administration questions the ethics of the decisions made then and would not condone such practice in its current administration, nevertheless these decisions are binding and has to be taken into consideration in future decision making regarding the issue.

Sime Darby UEP has since submitted proposals on development plans on the land and is currently being considered by the state. As the rightful owner of the land, the State cannot stop them from making development plans. However, the State will ensure that the residents will not be deprived of their designated green lung area for the community’s recreational use.

Development in Selangor will not be done at the expense of the rakyat and the State Government assures that all decisions will be made with transparency and accountability and in line with the State’s “Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor” agenda .

PRESS SECRETARIAT
OFFICE OF THE SELANGOR MENTERI BESAR

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Town Hall for new parking system in Taipan

My office and Jawatankuasa Penduduk Zone 3 hosted a town hall session in MPSJ last week to gather feedback from residents and business owners on the new parking system in Taipan, USJ 10.

The trial period for the hourly parking in Taipan will end in March 2010 and MPSJ will then review the effectiveness of this new system. This new hourly parking will encourage business owners and their employees to park their cars in the private car park owned by Corporate Parking (Corporate Parking agreed to match their season parking stickers from RM105 to RM80 a month ie. MPSJ's rate).

This change has increased the number of season parkers in Corporate Parking from 350 to 500 users. This simply means at every hour there are at least 150 public parking bays freed up all around Taipan for customers and residents to use. Read the news report on this from The Star "Parking limit proves effective".

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chinese New Year Concert & Carnival 2010

Residents in Subang Jaya came together last month for our Chinese New Year Concert & Carnival organised by my office, Jawatankuasa Penduduk (JKP) Zone 3 and SJ Echo. We were blessed with good weather that evening.

Members of Subang Jaya Buddhists Association helping out

I witnessed the coming together of various resident groups and corporations to make the event a success. This is how a community ought to be, everyone plays their role for the interest of the residents. I wish to acknowledge their assistance and contribution here:

Rukun Tetangga USJ 2 & 6 started setting up as early as 8am

Rukun Tetangga USJ 2 & 6 – thank you to the team for waking up so early on Sunday morning to decorate the stage and staying back after the event to pack down. Thank you to the two little kids who assisted with setting up lanterns and bringing laughter to the team. Also big thanks to the children with special needs who assisted with preparing the decorations.

Residents of SS15 – your performance was interesting and all of you sang beautifully! It made such a difference seeing the field “green” because of your presence and support that night. Keep practising for more performances by your team in future events.

Speaker of the Selangor State Legislative Assembly Teng Chang Khim launched the event. Other elected representatives present that night : Teresa Kok (Exco), Elizabeth Wong (Exco), Loh Gwo Burne (MP Kelana Jaya), Nik Nazmi (ADUN Seri Setia), Gobind Singh (MP Puchong), Dr Cheah Wing Yin (ADUN Damansara Utama)

Kelab Warga Emas – thank you to the senior citizens who performed an energetic and beautifully choreographed kungfu show. I appreciate your sacrifice and time!

Kelab Warga Emas

Line dancing group from USJ 11 – you spiced up the event! Keep dancing and bringing cheers to the people all around you.

When I planned the event during my medical leave, I had in mind not just a community event but one which would draw out new talents from Subang Jaya. I wanted the event to be a launching platform for these young people to display and share their talents. I think the residents saw just that when the following people performed:

Kim – oh girl you rocked the show! The people were still talking about your performance days after. Well done! What incredible talent we saw and you kept the people mesmerised.

Once Upon A Time There Was a Sausage Named Bob band – thank you for kicking off the event with your beautiful voice.

HT Long – hope to see more of you in Subang Jaya. My parents’ generation thoroughly enjoyed your rendition of Elvis Presley’s songs and even children who didn’t grow up listening to Elvis got up on their feet and danced along.

HT Long @ Golden Voice of Elvis Presley rocked the house! Young and old were seen dancing along.

Juwita Suwito – as usual, what a treat to hear you sing. Thanks for praying for the success of the event and for singing the Chinese New Year songs with your band. Appreciate the effort and may it give birth to your nationwide Chinese New Year tour 

With Juwita Suwito and HT Long after the concert

For our corporate sponsors NST (food and publicity), Mydin (200 boxes of mineral water), Sime Darby (fireworks display for closing ceremony), Sime Darby Medical Centre Subang Jaya (ambulance and staff nurses), Subang Avenue, Subang Parade and Empire Subang (50 boxes of mandarin oranges each) and Empire Subang (lion dance show for the opening ceremony) : thank you for your kind sponsorship for the people of Subang Jaya!

MPSJ and JKP Zone 3 - thank you for being a great venue host. Yang Dipertua MPSJ Dato’ Adnan, Rajiv and En Azli – terima kasih!

SJ Alert and other booths – thank you for your participation.

Rudy – you’re a great emcee to work with!

SJ Echo and my assistant Reuben David who coordinated the event – without you, the event would not have been a success. Seeing the smiling faces as they left the event made all the hard work worthwhile!

For more photographs - you can visit www.usj.com.my

The discomfort of sitting on the fence - Goh Keat Peng

Below is an article from The Malaysian Insider today. I am proud of the writer:

MARCH 4 — Of all the places one can think of, the fence must be about the most uncomfortable place on earth to sit (or perch) on.

To sit on the fence for a while may be alright but certainly not for long. Fences will poke and scratch us in our most tender parts of the human body. Sooner than later, you will find it better to get off the fence and take your rightful place on firm ground.

It is for me to decide to get myself off the fence. Getting off the fence constitutes a conscious decision on my part as an adult person where I wish to place myself, that is, on which side of the fence I wish to be. That is a decision I make for myself. Nobody can or should do this on my behalf.

Likewise, it is for others to decide to stay on the fence or when to get themselves down from their respective fences and when they finally do, to decide which side of the fence will best reflect their own views about life. That is each person’s human right, each person’s freedom to choose when to get off and on which side they wish to place their feet.

As for me, in the present context wherein we as a nation has found ourselves, quite clearly despite its very human imperfections, the PR’s (Pakatan Rakyat’s) stand on all the critically vital issues of grave national concern- press freedom, usage of “Allah”, judiciary, ISA, local government, civil service, police, MACC, “1Malaysia”, gender, religious, ethnic and cultural issues, elections laws and practices, economic policies, etc.- most certainly reflects more closely my own political aspirations and vision for the nation.

I constantly remind myself (and am reminded) that as and when PR forms the federal government, it may not (probably will not) be able to resolve fifty plus years of abuse and anomaly. As is clearly evident at state level, the civil service for one is not always cooperative or open to change and reform. Be that as it may, I am satisfied that in the main, the PR agenda for institutional change and reform is by far to be preferred than more of the same.

Quite honestly, speaking for myself, despite the rhetoric, sloganizing and even good intentions on the part of some in the present administration, more of the same is not tenable and in my opinion, disasterous for the nation and its people.

Yes in choosing to go with the PR I could arguably be bluffed by them once they form the government. But you know what? For me it is better to be bluffed once if it comes to that than to let the bluff of fifty plus years continue. If anything, the Malaysia I see today is far worse than my Malaysia during my school days some forty-five years ago.

The intensity of abuse of the resources and the institutions of state is indescribable, unfathomable, despicable and contemptible. No amount of semantics and spinning can make such vast scale wrongdoing become sensible or acceptable or good by any definition or yardstick.

A country of such rich resources, human and inanimate, could and should have made our nation world class. My nation, Malaysia, has instead become a country of missed opportunities and unfulfilled triumph.

If we the people allow things to go on as it is, our children and grand children will live in a terrible, horrible cultural environment of disrespect and intolerance in a climate of fear and distrust.

My prayer and aspiration is for the nation politically to evolve a two-party or coalition system of governance whereby there is no monopoly or iron-clad dominance of political power but that each side would be given a fair chance to compete thus making reform and desirable change a constant need within each of the parties and coalitions. Democratic elections is when either side has a fair and equal chance to win office.

Therefore, today when several individuals are for reasons best known to themselves leaving the party and badmouthing the party, etc., I as a free individual person would like the world to know that I am here and now choosing to identify in an unequivocal manner my support and recommitment to PKR and PR.

I feel and think that PR for the grave political risks and resolve it has taken deserves my vote and my energies. I hope that for every departure, there will be many more arrivals to the cause of needed change.

From here on in my journey in life, I give up my non-partisan stance. I surrender my neutrality. That does not mean that I shall cease to be fair and reasonable to any one regardless of his or her political association.

That does not mean that I shall just simply shout out abuse or whatever at anybody or rush to condemn persons or their roles and initiatives. That does not mean that I will be blind to wrong and silent to abuse wherever it is found. That does not mean I won’t listen to or be corrected by persons on the other side of the political divide.

There is a cost to my decision, however, a price to pay. In making my choice, to be fair, I am hereby withdrawing my association from any group or body where political non-partisanship is necessary.

As for me, I HAVE MADE MY CHOICE.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lim Kit Siang is coming to Subang Jaya!

For more details about the dinner, please contact Ong at 014 643 7622 and 014-643 7633.